|City settles Weeks, Dowell lawsuit|
|Friday, August 3, 2012|
By PATRICK HALL
Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell and Lebanon Police Department Det. Donnie Self accepted $20,000 judgments this past week in their case against former Commissioner of Public Safety Billy Weeks and Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead regarding an incident in 2010 where Weeks allegedly pulled a gun on Dowell during Slammin’ n’ Jammin’.
Dowell and Self accepted the judgments last week, according to Lebanon City Attorney Andy Wright, who said the case had been moved to federal court in 2011. Wright said the judgments dismiss the case before going to trial.
“It was cheaper to pay the $20,000 than pay the attorneys to conduct a federal trial,” Wright noted.
The lawsuit was filed regarding an incident on Saturday, May 29, 2010, during the annual car show known as Slammin’ n’ Jammin’. Dowell and Self were on duty at a command center set up by law enforcement on Highway 231 North for the event.
While Dowell and Self were sitting in a car, Weeks was outside the car, reportedly horsing around, but pulled his gun on Dowell and put it to his chest. Weeks said at the time the gun was not loaded.
Weeks was placed on paid administrative leave following the incident and he later took early retirement.
According to documents provided to The Post by Wright, the judgments include all costs and attorney fees accrued since the suit began and “constitutes payment in full of any and all damages.”
The acceptance of the judgment by Dowell and Self resulted in the dismissal of the case against all defendants, and the judgments do not preclude any admission of liability by Weeks or Craighead, nor that the plaintiffs suffered any damages.
The judgment offer documents indicated the “judgment will not be construed as an admission of liability for any of the defendants, but is an economical and litigation costs savings offer.”
Wright said the city’s insurance company, TML, is to pay the $20,000 to both defendants.
Weeks is running for the Lebanon City Council Ward 5 seat, which is currently held by Haywood Barry, who is not seeking re-election.